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  • Writer's pictureBruce Black

Nineteen Years and Still Serving

Nineteen years ago this month, Elmer and Ruby Palacio and two toddler sons moved to the suburbs of Cebu, Philippines to start a church in Babag. Since that time, Elmer has helped lead and pastor this church and seen God’s love and grace at work in the lives of many people.

Since then, Elmer and Ruby have had three more sons and now help raise four of their nieces while their mother works in Saudi Arabia. Elmer has preached hundreds of sermons and taught thousands about the good news of Jesus. He has gained respect from local leaders which lead to him being invited to teach a Christian Values course for all incoming Cebu Police Officers. Recently Elmer has been asked by community leaders to work with people struggling with addiction.

Elmer and Ruby started We Care Ministries through the Babag church to help families raise their young children in alignment with God’s principles. The Babag church began a preschool that has served these families and helped Elmer and Ruby to create a bridge of trust so parents will ask them for spiritual guidance.

The Babag church set up a tutoring program to help children to be successful in school as an extension of their work with families. This ministry, along with a food distribution ministry, has proven to be invaluable to the surrounding community during the pandemic. The church recently purchased equipment which is used to sterilize community and church members’ homes to fight the spread of Covid-19.

Throughout these past two decades, Elmer has invested much of his life in mentoring young Christian leaders. Two of Ruby's and Elmer’s sons are now working in public ministry. Just this month a young man named Jhobert, with whom Elmer has shared his faith and life, began leading a new church plant in another Cebu suburb.

Paul (Elmer's son), Elmer, and Jhobert

From a worldly standard the people of the Babag church exist with few material resources. Yet, as Paul said about the Macedonians, the Christians of Babag give first of themselves and then gladly share what resources they have with others to show and tell them the love of Jesus.

These Christians offer the hope to their neighbors whose health, finances and spirits are being crushed by the pandemic. Please pray for Elmer and the Babag church that they can be courageous and gracious as they offer the hope of Jesus to people in dire need. And celebrate with them what God continues to do with them and through them as they begin their 20th year together.



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